A Casino is a gambling establishment that provides patrons with a variety of games of chance. These games can include slots, roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat, and poker. In addition, many casinos offer other forms of entertainment such as shows and fine dining. While gambling is not something that can be done without risk, the casino industry has taken steps to mitigate these risks. Many state laws include responsible gambling provisions that require casinos to display signs and provide contact information for organizations that can help gamblers overcome problem behaviors.
Casino gambling began in the 16th century when a craze for dice-based gambling swept Europe. The word casino derives from the Italian word ridotto, which denotes a private clubhouse where rich Italians met for social occasions and to play cards and other games of chance. Because these venues were not public, they escaped the prying eyes of the Inquisition and flourished.
The first American casino was built in Nevada in the 1950s, and it spawned a wave of copycat casinos that opened across the country as other states legalized gambling. The mob provided money for some of these early casinos, and in some cases took sole or partial ownership and exerted control over the operations. This tainted the image of gambling, and legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in casinos that had such a seamy reputation. Nevertheless, organized crime figures were well financed from their drug dealing and extortion rackets, and they did not mind the taint associated with gambling.